More doom and gloom for jobseekers in South Korea as the government's latest figures paint a bleak picture for their prospects.
According to Statistics Korea Wednesday, the number of unemployed people in August hit one.one-three million.
That's the highest figure for the month of August since 1999… when South Korea was still struggling to recover from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
And around 26.nine million people were employed last month.
That's up a mere three-thousand on-year.
It's the first time since 2010 that the on-year figures for newly-added jobs have been that low.
Statistics Korea says there's a big fall in employment in the business facilities management and manufacturing sectors.
"The number of newly added jobs in August compared to the same period last month… increased in the health and social activities, information and communication industries. However, it decreased in sectors such as wholesale and retail, business facilities management, and manufacturing."
It's been suspected that the country's chronic issues of low birthrates and a rapidly aging society have played a part in the figures but the statistics agency says it's not the only reason that could explain the shrinking labor force.
A slowdown in South Korea's manufacturing sector, particularly its traditionally strong shipbuilding and auto sectors which have been undergoing restructuring, was cited as the main reason for the faltering job figures for August.
"In the manufacturing industry, changes in working hours such as the new 52-hour maximum workweek system might have affected the job figuresalong with the restructuring issue. Small and medium sized businesses in this field might have been hit by the sharp increases in the minimum wage for this year and next year."
The overall unemployment rate for August stood at four-percent… up zero.four percentage points on-year.
The outlook for young jobseekers is even more gloomy.
The jobless rate for Koreans between 15-and-29 years old was ten-percent last month…also the highest since 1999.
"Meanwhile the government aims to use all of its jobs budget for this year by the end of this month. Around 17-billion U.S. dollars has been allocated to tackle the unemployment issue. Ko Roon-hee, Arirang News."